Marginal abatement cost curves (MACCs) for UK forestry

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Recommendations on methods to estimate marginal abatement cost curves for forestry-based climate change mitigation options in the UK


The UK Government wants to minimise the cost of meeting its national greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. The costs of different measures and their potential to reduce emissions or sequester atmospheric GHGs can be evaluated using a marginal abatement cost curve (MACC). Forest Research reviewed previous MACC estimates for UK forestry mitigation options, evaluating their assumptions and methodologies. Its findings provide evidence for Government guidelines on cost-effectiveness studies.

Key findings and recommendations

  • Three primary studies have estimated MACCs for UK forestry mitigation measures
  • Estimates from these studies suggest forestry measures are highly cost-effective, according to the UK Government’s benchmark estimates for the social value of carbon
  • MACC estimates are sensitive to a range of factors including the methodology for calculating cost-effectiveness as well as the choice of species planted, the forest management regime, environmental conditions, inclusion of co-benefits and assumed costs of agricultural benefit.


Funding and partners

Commissioned and funded by the Forestry Commission


The project was completed in 2013.


Gregory Valatin